Purdue Jazz Festival


Please make plans to join us as the 31st Purdue Jazz Festival goes Virtual this January! Because of your loyalty and commitment to our past festivals, on Saturday, January 23, Purdue Jazz Bands will offer you and your students clinic/masterclasses from some of the finest jazz educators from across the country. 

The 2021 Festival will also include a “live-streamed” concert from the Elliott Hall of Music stage featuring the Purdue Jazz Band with Jarrard Harris.  The concert will be streamed on our Purdue Bands & Orchestras’ YouTube channel here.


Trumpeter Rex Richardson, a Yamaha Performing Artist, is hailed as “one of the best trumpet soloists in the world today” and as “a standout soloist with the power, range and flexibility to rival Freddy Hubbard and Woody Shaw”.   He is a veteran of such diverse groups as Rhythm & Brass, Joe Henderson’s Quintet, William Russo’s Chicago Jazz Ensemble and the Brass Band of Battle Creek and has collaborated with many of the greats in both the jazz and classical world.  In addition to teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University since 2002, he is highly sought trumpet teacher and clinician all over the world.


Trombonist Nick Finzer, a Conn-Selmer artist, is an award winning composer, producer, entrepreneur, educator and trombonist – certainly one of the most dynamic musicians of the millennial generation.  2020 saw a Grammy Nomination as trombonist for Anat Cohen’s Tenet and he topped the Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll in the ‘Rising Star Trombone’ category.  He’s an amazing performer and educator, being named in 2018 as Professor of Jazz Trombone at the University of North Texas.


Saxophonist, Composer and Educator Sharel Cassity (pron. “Sha-Relle”) is well established on the New York and Chicago jazz scenes. Listed as “Rising Star Alto Saxophone” in Downbeat Magazine for the past decade, Sharel has appeared on the Today Show, won the 2007 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award & has been inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Her four albums released as a leader have received top-rated reviews in publications like JazzTimes, Jazziz, Downbeat American Indian News & earned her a cover story in Saxophone Journal. Cassity’s latest album, “Evolve,” was recorded and distributed on her record label, Relsha Music.  Currently, Cassity is a professor in the Chicago area at Columbia College, DePaul University & Elgin Community College.


Pianist Reginald “Reggie” Thomas is Coordinator of the internationally recognized Norther Illinois University School of Music’s Jazz Studies program.  He has performed all over the world as pianist with the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra.  He is a regular clinician and education consultant for Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYO Jazz Orchestra, the Essentially Ellington Program and Band Director Academy.  He is regular at Summer Jazz Camps across the country including Birch Creek Music, Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz Camp, and academies in Poland, London and Trinidad and Togago.


Internationally renowned jazz bassist Rodney Whitaker is considered one of the best performers and teachers of that instrument in the United States.  Besides being Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University and artistic director of the MSU Professors of Jazz, he has been a member of Jazz at Lincoln Center, toured for 7 years with Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and toured internationally with Roy Hargrove’s Quintet.  He regularly collaborates with a virtual who’s who in jazz today.


The National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master award winner Jamey Aebersold is a legendary teacher of jazz improvisation.  His innovative jazz Play-a-Long series, numbering close to 130 book and cd sets, along with many other supplemental aids have transformed how jazz improvisation is taught.  His Summer Jazz Workshops for the last 40+ years have had a profound effect on jazz communities around the world.  Jamey has been a driving force in America’s native art form, Jazz, and continues to kindle the fires of musical imagination in those with whom he comes in contact.


Bob Rummage is director of percussion at Elmhurst and one of the busiest musicians in Chicago. He maintains a versatile schedule of performances with a variety of Chicago ensembles ranging from Rob Parton’s Jazz Tech Big Band to the Mark Colby Quartet to the eclectic styles of Howard Levy. He has performed with many internationally known musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Nat Adderly, Benny Golson, Buddy DeFranco and Bela Fleck. A highly sought-after clinician, Rummage has made appearances at high schools and colleges including the University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, Emporia State, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and the Music for All camp at Illinois State.

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